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Ripe for rediscovery, Christopher Petit’s post-punk journey RADIO ON (1979) has become a cult film since its initial release and is one of the most striking feature debuts in British cinema. Co-produced by Wim Wenders and featuring Sting’s first film performance, RADIO ON is austere in narrative and captures the lurking disenchantment of the British youth movements of the time.
RADIO ON was stunningly photographed in luminous black and white monochrome by Martin Schaefer (Wenders’ cinematographer), and driven by a startling soundtrack (Bowie, Kraftwerk, Lene Lovich, Ian Dury, Wreckless Eric and more). Petit’s anti-road movie follows a London DJ (David Bearnes) as he travels to Bristol to investigate the mysterious death of his brother, and offers a unique, compelling and even mythic vision of a late 1970s England.
Before directing his debut, Christopher Petit was an editor of the film section at the London weekly TIME OUT. He went on to direct three more features including the P.D. James adaptation AN UNSUITABLE JOB FOR A WOMAN (1981) before collaborating with novelist Iain Sinclair on TV documentary profiles of historical figures. For over fifteen years Petit has pushed the aesthetic boundaries of non-fiction television starting with a portrait of writer J.G. Ballard (MOVING PICTURES, 1990 and more recently NEGATIVE SPACE (1999), a documentary on film critic Manny Farber. His latest film is another critically acclaimed collaboration with Sinclair, LONDON ORBITAL (2002) about the world’s largest bypass highway, the M25.
This DVD release marks the first time RADIO ON has been commercially available in North America. The film was recently restored by the British Film Institute and enjoyed accolades in the press as well as sold-out screenings around the UK and Europe.
DAVID BOWIE: Heroes/Helden…Always Crashing in the Same Car
KRAFTWERK: Uranium…Radioactivity…Ohm Sweet Ohm
ROBERT FRIPP: Urban Landscape
IAN DURY: Sweet Gene Vincent
WRECKLESS ERIC: Whole Wide World…Veronica
LENE LOVICH: Lucky Number
THE RUMOUR: Frozen Years
-RADIO ON REMIX (1998, 24 min): Christopher Petit and the film's producers revisit original locations from the film 20 years later. Includes a remixed soundtrack, sound design by Bruce Gilbert of Wire, behind-the-scenes footage, and more.More Info
"Gloomy weather in the English soul never looked more beautiful than in Chris Petit's downbeat arthouse gem... RADIO ON stands triumphantly apart from the British mainstream... What a valuable talent Petit is."
- Peter Bradshaw, THE GUARDIAN
"One of the landmark English films of the past 30 years."
- Sukhdev Sandhu, DAILY TELEGRAPH
"...announced a directorial sensibility that was alien to British film."
- Chris Darke, FILM COMMENT